Two Hampshire police officers have been nominated for a national bravery award after the saving the life of a suicidal man who had doused himself in fuel.
PCs Steven Males and Michael Nol who are both based at Cosham Police Station were two of several officers dispatched to search for a male who was threatening to purchase some petrol from a local petrol station and set himself alight. The alert came from a mental health team at a local hospital. The male had no mental health history but had been detained under the Mental Health Act the previous day for threatening to throw himself off a bridge.
It was reported that the male was at a local children’s play park and had poured petrol over his head. He was trying to set himself alight in front of children in the park and the officers had to act quickly.
PC Males and PC Nol located the male in a children’s play area at College Park on Copner Road in Portsmouth. The stench of petrol was overwhelming and the male was completely soaked. He was holding a lighter in his right hand which he had held to his head and he was striking it in an effort to ignite the petrol. Without hesitation, both officers ran towards the male. A struggle ensued and he was wrestled to the ground whilst still trying to strike the lighter. Other officers arrived to assist and secured the lighter. The male required immediate first aid as he had ingested a lot of petrol in his eyes, nose and mouth. He was detained and taken to hospital for treatment.
Both officers acted instinctively in a very dangerous situation. Their actions prevented the death or serious injury of the male and the associated trauma that his actions might have brought to any witnesses.
Hampshire Police Federation Chairman, John Apter, said:
‘PC Nol and PC Males reacted instinctively to save the life of a member of the public. In doing so they put their own lives at risk. I have no doubt that their actions saved the mans life, they are a credit to the service’.